Trickdogging – teaching the dog little tricks

Trickdogging – teaching the dog little tricks

The training of small tricks is called trick dogging. The dog learns exercises of different difficulty levels. The possibilities for trick dogging range from simple postures to rolling, jumping and gestures. Trickdogging can be done without much effort and in any weather. It is suitable for dogs of all ages and in every state of health, as the exercises can be selected and combined as desired.

Useful information about trick dogging

Aids for trick dogging

A so-called target stick and a clicker serve as aids for trick dogging. The target stick is a simple pointer with the help of which the dog learns to touch certain objects. A telescopic rod is suitable for this, but also any other elongated object. A clicker is a cracking frog, with the help of which the dog is given acoustic signals. In this way, every correctly performed action can be shown to the dog without delay. The clicker only serves as a secondary amplifier, this means that every click signal must be followed by a reward, for example in the form of food rewards. It is assumed, of course, that the dog is conditioned to this type of signal and knows what it means.

Training goals

Learning tricks in the context of trick dogging supports the dog’s mental activity. He is challenged in a playful way, occupied and his self-confidence strengthened. Trickdogging demands a high level of concentration, which is more intense than simple games. The result is a balanced, but also attentive and obedient dog.

In contrast to conventional obedience exercises, the training is usually carried out more patiently and with more fun. This not only motivates the dog, it also improves teamwork and understanding between dog and human. In order not to frustrate the dog, the main principle is not to overtax it. This means that easy exercises should be the beginning and, above all, complex tricks should be taught in individual steps. This should only be continued when each previously learned partial action is safely mastered by the dog.

Beginner exercises

Bowing: The dog is shown a point between its front paws so that it leans forward. He will now be rewarded by the clicker before leaving the position. Another possibility is to click the dog when he spontaneously offers this pose as a natural stretching movement or playing posture. This has the advantage that the trick can be learned faster and more sustainably. The general rule here is that positions that belong to the natural movement repertoire can be trained particularly quickly on command.

Males: Here the dog stands up from the sitting position on the hind legs. To do this, the target stick or a chunk of food is held just above head height so that the dog has to lift its forelegs slightly to reach it. At the beginning, every touch is rewarded.

Role: To train a role, the dog is presented with a toy or treat in the down position and guided over its back. The owner can support the dog in the beginning by guiding the rolling movement.

Give a paw: In this exercise, the dog is presented with a chunk of food in a closed fist. As soon as he uses his paw to reach it, he will be rewarded by the clicker. Later the treat changes into the other hand and then disappears completely, the next step is to offer the open palm instead of the fist.

Advanced exercises

Jumping through the arms: The dog is first brought closer to the outstretched arm and moved to cross it at floor level. Then the lower arm is bent more and more into a semicircle. Once the dog has internalized this, the second arm can gradually close the circle from above. Finally, the obstacle is raised step by step.

Stepping: Here the dog learns to move its front paws in step with its owner. The starting point is the exercise giving paws, during which the corresponding foot of the holder is lifted at the same time. The aim is for the dog to touch the owner’s knee with his paw. At first you can put your hand on your knee and let your paw be put in your hand. As a result, the hand is gradually withdrawn and only the knee is used.

Professional tricks

Calculating: In order to give the impression that the dog can calculate, an inconspicuous signal is necessary, at which the dog barks or knocks with its paw. Alternatively, he learns to bark the moment he sees a calculation board, for example. As soon as he has reached the desired number, the calculation board is rotated out of sight.

Assault: Here the dog raises its paws as in the male position. In addition, he can then apparently drop dead at a signal word like “bang”, for which he is always rewarded when he takes the dead dog position.

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